The alumni of Aalto University can actively participate in supporting and developing the studies and working life skills of students. By giving their time to students, the alumni offer support to the students and simultaneously gain an opportunity to get to know current Aalto students at a more profound level.
In the mentoring programme, a more experienced alumni mentors a student with less experience of working life. The mentoring is based on openness, reciprocal trust and equality and aims at the professional and personal development of the mentee, clarification of his or her work career and success in studies. Those with experience in mentoring almost without exception recommend mentoring as an opportunity to:
• develop interactive skills, leadership capabilities and coaching skills
• develop skills in discussion and listening and the ability to support other people’s success
• share experiences, know-how and opinions with experts of the future
• get to know experts of the future and learn more about the thinking of today’s students
• gain new ideas and ways of thinking
• gain new insight regarding the mentor’s own work career and thoughts about life
• keep up-to-date with university life
In the information interview, the alumni member answers career-related questions relevant to the student. The student interviews the mentor for a couple of hours to get a better idea of the opportunities provided by working life and the field in question.
The method of work observation means that a student in the early stages of career planning observes the daily work of a member of the alumni for the duration of one day thus gaining a deeper insight into the daily reality of working life than is possible with the interview alone.
The alumni may also contribute to courses targeted to degree students as guest lecturers talking about recent developments and future prospects of their field with reference to their own career and professional situation.
Within the friendship programme, members of the alumni can become friends with foreign students and researchers; they can help the visitors by explaining elements of Finnish culture and ways of doing things, tell them about the free time opportunities available – or just meet as friends. This also gives the alumni member the opportunity to learn about the person's background, culture and area of expertise.
If they wish to, the alumni can also support learning and the development of learning facilities financially.